We’ve been here almost a week and the weather has been terrific. The only rain was a sprinkle as we arrived in Florence on Saturday. Yesterday (Sunday) was cool, with highs in the 50’s. The Florentines were bundled up, but we were comfortable in jackets. Today was glorious–bright sunshine and highs in the mid 70’s.
Day 3: Monday
So it’s official, we didn’t allow enough time for Florence, or I didn’t plan it effectively, or both. It’s 6 pm on our last day here and we feel like we haven’t scratched the surface.
This morning we headed to the Musei San Marco which has works by the early Renaissance painters Fra Angelico and Fra Bartolomeo. The museum is housed in the former Dominican convent of San Marco, where the painters lived. The ground floor exhibits mostly illuminated altarpieces and other “formal” works. For me, the real treasure was upstairs, where Fra Angelico painted frescos in the monks’ cells. They’re very well-preserved, and they are beautiful!
We walked back to our hotel, grabbing a sandwich and a cup of wine, which we ate sitting on the hotel balcony. We then headed out again and did part of a Rick Steves walking audio tour of the area before our bike tour at 3 o’clock. It was a lot of fun. In addition to seeing the city center, which we had already walked through, we crossed the river and got to areas where we hadn’t been on foot. I wish we had taken the bike tour the first day–it would have been a good orientation to the city and we might have tried to do some different things because of it. The other thing I definitely would have done differently was to try to get to the Uffizi early in the day. We were somewhat constrained because we we in town from midday Saturday to Tuesday morning and most museums are closed on Monday. So an extra day would have helped a lot.
Our last night was highlighted by a great dinner at Simon Boccanegra. We had our chance to try the famous Tuscan steak, and it exceeded high expectations! Anne said it was the best steak she ever had.
Day 4: Tuesday
Since we had missed seeing the interior of the Duomo, we got up early on Tuesday and went to 7:30 mass. There were only about 15 people there and it was a quick service–no homily. But three nuns did sing an opening piece and we joined in on the Alleluia. We did wander through the basilica and admire the dome for a few minutes before heading back to our B & B to eat breakfast and pack.
Since we were early for our train to Venice, we stopped in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. We tried to tour the church, but they didn’t allow luggage inside, so we settle for having espresso and a crepe from a market stand in the piazza. Then off to the train station and Venice!